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Indian Scientists found a rare plant with anti-cancer properties in Western Ghats

May 15, 2015 15:35 IST

Indian Scientists on 14 May 2015 found a rare plant named Miquelia dentate Bedd with anti-cancer properties in Western Ghats. The plant could open up possibilities for cancer treatment.

The plant is a small climbing shrub producing anti-cancer alkaloid Camptothecine (CPT). It occurs sparsely in Madikeri Forests in Kodagu in Karnataka.

The team of scientists from Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment, Bengaluru and University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru and Dharwad has found the plant.

Camptothecine is an important anti-cancer compound extracted from several plant species belonging to Asterid clade. It is a potent inhibitor of the intra-nuclear enzyme topoisomerase-I, which is required in DNA replication and transcription.

Several semi-synthetic drugs such as Hycamtin (topotecan) and Camptostar (irinotecan or CPT 11) are derived from CPT and are currently in clinical use against ovarian, small lung and refractory ovarian cancer.

Several plant species producing CPT have been found in India. But the demand for CPT has resulted in extensive felling of the woody trees and plants like Nothapodytes nimmoniana, which is now on the verge of extinction and declared vulnerable.

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